Author: Astaroth
Original Thread: A Guide to Great Britain

A Guide to Great Britain

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The British Empire - An Overview
  3. Britain's Neighbors
  4. The Strategy
  5. Summary

I. Introduction
Britain is a proud nation with a long and glorious history. In the Colonial Age, British explorers traveled around the world and discovered new lands for the Empire. In North America, Britain managed to surpass France as the major colonial power and claimed many lands on the east coast of the New World. Eventually, the British also set foot on India and went on to conquer the whole subcontinent.
This is also what makes the British campaign in Empire: Total War so interesting. While you control a relatively small empire at the beginning, you have the potential to conquer the whole known world! Historically, Britain's navy is one of the strongest in this period so you should utilize it to take your troops from one theater to another.

While the British campaign might be amongst the easiest in the game it is still rather fun due to the faction's many unique units, it's special starting position and the fact that you get to face your enemies on the battlefields of Europe, America and India! But let's begin.

First of all, you have to choose the campaign and battle difficulty settings. I for my part would suggest going with "Very Hard" for the campaign and "Hard" for the battles. Dealing with the campaign AI should be doable, even on the hardest difficulty setting - especially if you're a Total War veteran. However, the battle AI gets a lot of morale and statistics bonuses if it is set to "Very Hard" so I'd go for "Hard" or "Medium" instead.
If you aren't as experienced in Empire: Total War or rather games of the series, you can also go for M/M if you wish. However, I wouldn't play on the easy difficulty as both the campaign and the battle AI tend to be extremely passive and very weak if you choose that setting. And we aren't afraid of a challenge, are we?
Finally, I would also switch off the adviser as she tends to be rather annoying. She can be useful if you're new to the game but I personally prefer learning by doing. Either way, your campaign selection screen could now look like this:

Now it's finally time to get started. Many challenges lie ahead!

II. The British Empire - An Overview
At the beginning of the game, the British Empire is still quite small. While British colonists have claimed several regions on the American east coast, the French colonies and the powerful Indian tribes make further expansion rather hard. In Europe, Britain's power is mainly limited to the British Isles and its military cannot compete with the continental European powers. In order to overcome these difficulties, Britain has to utilize its powerful navy and build a strong economy. Now we shall have a look at the empire's government, economy, infrastructure and other important aspects so we get a better understanding of the problems which lay ahead of us.


The British government and military at the beginning of the game.

The Government

As opposed to most continental European powers, Britain is not an absolute monarchy but a constitutional one. The British king doesn't have (almost) unlimited power and is kept in check by the parliament. Therefore, he is unable to hire and fire ministers at will and the elections can result in ministers being replaced if the governing party is unpopular. Sometimes good ministers might be replaced by awful candidates and there is nothing you can do about it. On top of that, you can only replace a single minister every turn, even if you'd want to fire several of them.
But while this type of government suffers from the aforementioned problems, it has several advantages as well. In a constitutional monarchy, the lower class isn't oppressed and the people are therefore much less likely to revolt. That allows you to research new technologies without having to deal with riots constantly. And unlike in a republic, the nobles aren't particularly unhappy with the government either and controlling them is easier.
In conclusion, a constitutional monarchy is rather stable and balanced. Neither of the two main groups of the population is eager to revolt and it's much easier to keep most people happy. However, you also have less influence on the government and the elections which take place every few years limit your power a bit. I for my part am quite happy with this type of government and would advise against changing it.
However, if you prefer playing as a republic or an absolute monarchy you can do so by forcing a lower class or noble revolution respectively. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.


The diplomacy at the beginning of the game.


Since Great Britain is a Protestant nation, it has a friendly relationship with other Protestant countries such as Sweden and Prussia. Furthermore, Britain is allied with the United Provinces, Austria, Portugal and Hanover which further strengthens its position in Europe. However, the country also has several powerful enemies. France has always been one of Britain's greatest rivals and the relations between the two countries are terrible. Since Spain is France's closest ally at the moment, it is obviously also rather hostile towards the British. In the Americas, several Indian tribes such as the Cherokee and the Hurons are eager to seize British land and war is inevitable.
In conclusion, Britain has both many friends and many enemies. While a few countries are close British allies, others are determined to wipe the British Empire off the map once and for all. If you want to be victorious, it's important to focus on your major enemies - such as France and the various Indian tribes - while trying to avoid war with most other European nations. You won't manage to form an alliance with all of them but you should try to prevent them from entering the war on your enemies' side.



Sea trade is essential for Britain's economy. Goods from the American colonies and Britain's trading partners from all over the world make up for a major part of the Empire's income. Therefore, it's essential to upgrade your trade ports, to protect the trade routes and to trade with as many other nations as possible. Since trade is much more profitable than fishing - especially later in the game - it would be a good idea to turn all of your ports into trade harbors. In order to gain even more money you might want to send Indiamen to the various trade theaters. Another important aspect of Britain's economy is agriculture. Upgraded farms are very profitable and it would be wise to invest into them, especially if you decide to conquer North America's fertile lands. Roads do not play a big role on the British Isles but they are certainly important once you are establishing a colonial empire in America or India. Not only do they enable your troops to travel faster but they also generate a lot of wealth.
Generally, it's important to invest a lot into your economy when playing as Britain. In order to pay for your fleets and colonial armies you need a lot of money so you should focus on upgrading your ports, roads, farms and other economic buildings constantly. After all, getting a strong economy is the key to achieving victory.



In Empire: Total War religion isn't such a big issue. There is no pope who would give you missions and there are neither crusades nor jihads. Therefore, one might not pay much attention to religion. That would however be a mistake. Religion is still a factor, albeit a small one. Both provinces and nations can still be Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim or Hindu. If you play as a Catholic nation, regions that are mainly populated by people of others religions will be more likely to riot. Same goes for any other religion. However, it is possible to convert a region's inhabitants. In order to achieve this you must build churches in the respective region which will then automatically spawn priests or imams. These so-called 'religious agents' will then slowly convert the local population. That way you can avoid constant religious strife. It must be noted that this process can take quite some time, though. Therefore, one should have a look at a province's religion before invading it. Sometimes it might be smart not to take the risk.
Britain is a Protestant nation and has thus rather good relations with other countries of the same religion. Therefore, e.g. Prussia is naturally friendly towards the British Empire. However, many major European countries are Catholic, including the powerful France and Austria. As a result, poor diplomatic relations with them are likely. Religion should not be overestimated, though. Even if another nation has a different one, it's still easily possible to gain its benevolence and support via good diplomacy, gifts and trade.


The Thirteen Colonies at the beginning of the game.

The Thirteen Colonies

At the beginning of the game, Britain has a protectorate in North America, namely The Thirteen Colonies. Just like every protectorate, The Thirteen Colonies pay money to its protector in exchange for protection. However, when playing as Britain you are in a unique situation. You can force your protectorate to join your empire by successfully completing a mission. Once you have captured the regions of Georgia, New France and Cherokee Territory, The Thirteen Colonies will become British. This is of course an extra incentive to expand in North America. After all, The Thirteen Colonies control several regions on the American east coast which would increase both the size and the strength of your empire considerably. However, you have to keep in mind that the settlements which you have to conquer in order to complete the mission are held by quite powerful nations. The Cherokee Indians control vast lands to the west of The Thirteen Colonies and field a huge army of melee warriors, bowmen and riflemen. And France's colonies are defended by strong armies as well.
But in spite of these difficulties, I would suggest that you to complete the mission anyway.

III. Britain's Neighbors

Britain, France, Flanders and the United Provinces at the beginning of the game.


Britain lies on an island and does not border any nations in Europe as a result. However, since the nearby European countries play quite an important role in the British campaign I think it's important to have a look at them. After all, powerful nations such as France aren't far away from Britain's shores!

  • France is an old rival of the British monarchy. The two countries have been fighting against each other for centuries now and their relationship is characterized by hostility. Even if there won't be any major wars in Europe for now, it's almost certain that the two nations will fight against each other in the struggle for supremacy overseas. And while a French invasion of the British Isles is quite unlikely to happen, France's European fleet poses a big threat to your trade routes and ports. Therefore, it's important to ensure that your navy is strong enough to defend your sea trade. Otherwise, French ships might reduce your income drastically. And while a French invasion isn't very likely, France still has a strong standing army in mainland Europe and you should think twice before invading.

  • Spain is a major power in Europe and owns Flanders which lies quite close to Britain. However, despite that Spain hardly poses a threat to your European territories. The country is busy with defending Flanders against your Dutch allies and couldn't launch any major attacks against your lands in Europe. However, the Spanish navy might well start to block your trade routes sooner or later so having a strong fleet is quite important. In order to weaken Spain, you could also block the Spanish ports, effectively cutting off the country's trade with Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

  • The United Provinces are one of your closest allies. However, they do not play a big role in the campaign aside from keeping Spain and France busy. Dutch fleets might help you against your enemies occasionally as well.


The Caribbean at the beginning of the game.

The Americas

While Britain only owns two small islands and a single unimportant region in the Americas, the continent nonetheless plays an important role in the British campaign. Therefore, we shall examine some of the major players in the area. Knowing your enemies is essential to beating them - after all, knowledge is power!

  • Spain owns many territories in the Americas, ranging from islands in the Caribbean (such as Cuba) to various regions in Central and South America (such as Mexico). Therefore, the country is definitely a major power on the continent. However, since its power base lies in the south whereas your main targets lie in the north of the American theater, you won't have to face the Spanish until much later. Spain's sphere of influence ends at the Rio Grande and the country won't be able to do much against your expansion further north. But while its land troops will hardly be an issue, Spain's fleets can be rather annoying. Sooner or later they will begin hunting down your ships, capturing your ports and blocking your trade routes. Therefore, you should try to keep a sufficient fleet near the Bahamas and Jamaica.

  • France controls various regions in North America, ranging from New France in the north to Louisiana in the south. It will be one of your major enemies on the continent and is a rather powerful enemy, fielding line infantry and other disciplined European troops. The French navy in the Americas is also rather strong so it's important to keep your ships together.

  • The Cherokee are a major Indian tribe. While their troops are not as disciplined and modern as yours, they are fierce fighters and very numerous. Furthermore, the Cherokee control many regions and are eager to expand. It's quite likely that they will take at least one of your protectorate's settlements sooner or later. In order to complete your mission (see above) you have to take two of the Cherokee's settlements so war with them is inevitable.

IV. The Strategy
Since the British Empire is such a diverse nation there are many different possible strategies. Due to your strong navy, you can focus on founding colonies and seizing lands overseas. Alternatively, you could get more involved in continental Europe and increase your influence there. But while Britain has a lot of potential at the beginning already, expansion is necessary if the Empire wants to become a leading power in the known world. In order to determine where to attack first, we will now have a look at the different theaters.


Possible Targets

  • Europe: Since Britain is located in Europe, this continent might seem to be an obvious first target. However, there are several problems with that. First of all, Britain doesn't have a strong power base in Europe. Many nations there have huge armies and rich cities and it would be quite hard to expand. Furthermore, Britain would have to gain a foothold in continental Europe which is easier said than done. You also have to keep in mind that attacking several European powers will drastically worsen your relations with many rich countries. As a result, your trade and income will suffer which would be disastrous for your economy. Therefore, you should think twice before expanding into mainland Europe. Finally, attacking Europe would also not be very historically accurate.
    In conclusion, I would advise against invading Europe early in the game. Doing so would not only be somewhat difficult but it would also not be very fun in my opinion.
  • India: India is a rich subcontinent and several European powers have already begun colonizing it. Furthermore, the two major Indian powers - the Mughals and the Marathas - are weakened because they are fighting against each other constantly. Therefore, one might consider focusing on this theater in order to conquer its lands and to seize its riches. However, there are several things to keep in mind. To begin with, the Marathas and Mughals might be weakened but they are still powerful empires which control many regions and command huge armies. On top of that, you do not have any footholds in India yet so your position there would be rather weak. In order to get to the subcontinent, you would have to build an army and spend many years sailing there. Therefore, trying to colonize India might not be the best strategy so early in the game when you do not have a powerful base for such an operation yet. Not to mention that you would have to neglect your American territories which would undoubtedly result in the loss of your protectorate.
    Finally, the Indians are also good trade partners. By attacking them you would lose a considerable amount of money so it would probably be best to ignore the subcontinent for the time being.
  • The Americas: As I've already mentioned earlier, you start the game with several colonies and a protectorate in the Americas. Therefore, America is arguably the best target early on. You have a foothold there already and you can gain several regions just by completing the mission to conquer three regions (see above). And since you have a powerful navy it wouldn't be hard to bring troops from Britain to the colonies, either. Finally, if you wage war in North America the only major nation you have to face is France so you will be able to keep on trading with most European and Indian nations.

In conclusion, I for my part will focus on establishing a power base in the Americas early on, rather than trying to gain a foothold in continental Europe or India. Conquering new lands in the Americas is a fun experience and will also strengthen your Empire considerably. But let's get started!


Step 1: Conquering New France

At the beginning of the game, the majority of your soldiers are stationed on the British Isles. However, as we will attempt to conquer the Americas, you should embark them immediately. Use your fleets in Britain to take them and your single assassin to the American theater. As AI invasions of the British Isles are extremely unlikely, there is no point in garrisoning your cities. You might want to leave a single unit of militia in Britain, though as it can be used to protect your ports against naval assaults. While your troops are on their way to the Americas, you should have a look at your colonies. In the Caribbean, the British own the Bahamas and Jamaica. Neither of them is particularly wealthy or important but you can use your settlement on the Bahamas to train soldiers. Later on, these troops can help your other soldiers with conquering New France. You also have a fleet in the Caribbean and should use it to defend against pirate raids. However, later on it will be needed to take your soldiers from the Bahamas to New France in the north.
In modern-day Canada you own yet another colony, namely Hudson Bay. However, I would strongly suggest to get rid of it since the Huron Indians will attempt to capture it sooner or later. The settlement is isolated and defending it against huge Huron armies is basically impossible. Not to mention that it is small and not very important. Therefore, I'd give it to the Dutch in exchange for the small island Curacao. While Curacao is not very important either, it can trade with Europe and you do not have to worry about defending or losing it. Another advantage of getting rid of Hudson Bay is that you avoid being at war with the Huron for a while. That will make it easier to avoid a multi-front war in North America later on. While preparing for war with France in the Americas, use your money to upgrade your economy everywhere. Build improved farms, mines and docks and research economic technologies such as Common Land Enclosures. Getting a strong economy is essential if you want to succeed.

Conquering New France.

A few turns later, your fleet from Europe should have reached Newfoundland. The French settlement is poorly defended so conquering it shouldn't be difficult. I would however advise against attacking the Inuits in the north since their settlement is too small and poor yet too strongly defended to be worth the effort of conquering it. At the same time, board your Caribbean fleet with your newly trained army from the Bahamas and sail northbound. It's probably a good idea to unite both of your fleets sooner rather than later since France tends to have a strong fleet in the area. As long as you keep your ships together, you should manage to survive any naval encounters easily. Once Newfoundland's population has stopped rioting because of your occupation, embark your soldiers and sail towards the American mainland. The French region of Acadia is the most obvious next target so simply disembark and seize it quickly. The majority of France's forces in the Americas are stationed in Quebec so you don't have to worry yet. In case France took one of The Thirteen Colonies' settlements, conquer it quickly as well. Now your assassin will become very useful. Use him to scout France's regions in order to determine the strength of the French army. You will probably have to spend a few turns building up an army since Quebec's garrison is quite strong.
Your best bet is probably to focus on training many units of line infantry along with a few units of Hessian infantry. Infantry is reliable and also very useful for sieges. On top of that, a solid force of line infantry - possibly supported by a few cannons - will be very useful against the Iroquois and Cherokee later on. Once you are ready, march towards Quebec and seize the city. And with that, we have already completed the first objective of our mission! One down, two to go. Since France's other American colonies lie further south and are not connected to its northern ones, you don't have to worry about them just yet and can seize Montreal right after taking Quebec. The next few years should be spent improving the infrastructure of your new regions and preparing for future wars. You should build roads, upgrade your farms and build new ports. Remember, a functioning economy is essential if you want to be victorious! As your troops will be weakened from the past wars, it would probably also be a good idea to train new soldiers as well. With the end of France's presence in these regions, we have already made an important step into the right direction. A British foothold in North America has been established and will be a useful power base for future campaigns and expansions.


Fighting against the Iroquois next to the Great Lakes.

Step 2: Against the Iroquois and kicking the French out of North America

The Iroquois control the regions which border the Great Lakes and occupy the space between New France in the north and the remaining French colonies at the Mississippi river in the south. Since they border your newly attained lands, you have no choice but to attack them sooner or later. While you could theoretically move south by crossing your protectorate's territory I for my part would advise against that for your flank would be very long and quite difficult to protect. Therefore, I think it's better to make sure that you have no potential enemies in your back.
You shouldn't have to worry about the Hurons yet so you can focus on taking out the Iroquois next. While the Native Americans tend to field large armies which consist of rather strong soldiers, they cannot withstand strong, infantry based armies, especially if they are supported by cannons. Your best bet is to field at least one but preferably two full stacks and to strike very quickly. Conquer the Iroquois settlements one-by-one as quickly as possible. That way, they won't be able to raise many new soldiers and their lands should be yours within less than ten turns. However, you have to make sure that your army is big enough before attacking, because if you are defeated it will take very long to build a new one from scratch. Not to mention that the Iroquois and possibly even the Hurons might use the opportunity to attack.
Generally, my goal will be to conquer all of the regions alongside the Mississippi river before finally advancing against the Cherokee to the east. The Great Plains in the west and the Thirteen Colonies in the east will protect your American colonies on both sides so following the Mississippi downstream is probably your best choice. You don't have to worry about being flanked and don't have to put huge garrisons in your settlements. While you won't be able to train line infantry in the former Iroquois settlements early on, the native units you can build there should suffice - at least if you support them with stronger units from Montreal and Quebec. And although Indian auxiliaries aren't exactly elite units, they are a useful addition to any army.
Once your forces have recovered from the last battles, you shouldn't hesitate to advance against the remaining French settlements in the south. France's leftover army in the Americas shouldn't be that big, especially considering that it's probably weakened because of wars against the Cherokee and other Indians. Therefore, simply seize Michigan Territory soon. By now, Louisiana might well have already fallen to one of the Indian tribes and you shouldn't worry about it if it indeed has. However, if the French still hold it I would try to take it quickly in order to end France's presence in North America once and for all. It might take a few turns to destroy every last French army but once their major military bases have fallen it shouldn't be a huge challenge.
Once you have succeeded, your conquest of North America will almost be complete. The French and the Iroquois will not bother you anymore, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi area are yours and you have established a strong power base on the continent. While your protectorate is probably getting conquered by the Cherokee slowly (possibly also by the United States in case they emerged) but you shouldn't worry about that too much. The Thirteen Colonies are a great buffer for your own colonies and while the Cherokee are busy taking their territories, you can expand further. Therefore, your protectorate serves as a distraction for your enemies which you can use to gain momentum.


Attacking the Hurons.

Step 3: Against Cherokee and Hurons - completing the mission

While you were busy fighting the remaining French near the lower Mississippi, the Hurons have conquered Rupert's Land - your former colony which you traded with the Dutch - and have built a powerful army. They are now eager to expand and your northern colonies are weak and undefended. Therefore, the time has come to re-take your former colony and to remove the Huron threat once and for all. Use Quebec and Montreal as your main troop production centers but also train mounted Indian auxiliaries in your other northern colonies. At the same time, rebuild your southern army to prepare for the war against the Cherokee. By now, you should have enough money to afford two standing armies. You shouldn't march against the Cherokee just yet since their army is probably rather large by now. However, make sure to defend Fort de Chatres (in Upper Louisiana) and the nearby fort in case the Indians attack.
In the north, use your newly built army to repel any Huron attacks and keep training more soldiers until you have at least one full stack. Afterwards, slowly move towards your former colony, Moose Factory. Considering that you have probably already destroyed at least one large Huron army, the settlement should be almost undefended. Therefore, take it quickly and march against the Huron capital to the south, next to the Great Lakes. While it still has a strong garrison, a powerful, infantry-based army should be able to win without much trouble. If you fail to do so, simply assemble a new army in Quebec and Montreal and try again. At this stage of the game, these four aspects are probably the most important:

  • Build a strong army in the north to crush the Hurons. This is important in order to guard your back so you can focus on the rest of your empire finally. Having an aggressive enemy near your borders should be avoided at all costs.
  • Train more soldiers for your southern army to deal with the Cherokee. You shouldn't attack too early because building a new army from scratch after losing your first one would take very long. Furthermore, the Cherokee might use your temporary weakness to seize several of your regions. However, waiting too long will result in the loss of many Thirteen Colonies provinces.
  • Build Protestant churches in your various colonies in North America. Most of these regions are still animistic or Catholic (due to France converting the local population) and the different religions are a major cause of unrest. If you manage to convert a majority of the locals, the happiness level will rise and you can raise the taxes further. As a result your income will increase and you also do not have to put any garrisons in most towns because they will not riot anyway. That frees up many units for your military campaigns.
  • Improve your infrastructure and economy. Higher level ports and farms will increase your income significantly and roads will enable your troops to march further every turn. Now that you own that much land in the Americas, it's important to move your troops from one place to another quickly. Finally, without a stronger economy, you will not be able to finance two strong standing armies at once. And if your army is too small, you will never succeed.

If you did everything correctly and have built a strong economy (especially in the Americas) it shouldn't be too hard to finish off the Hurons and the Cherokee. By now, your southern army should be strong enough to attack the Cherokee. Simply take one settlement at a time and keep your units together. If you divide your army in several smaller parts it's very much possible that they will be ambushed and killed one-by-one. Therefore, conquer a settlement, repair the buildings and wait until the army's ranks have been replenished. Keep training soldiers in Fort de Chatres (since you can actually train proper infantry there) and send half stacks to the front every few turns. That way, defeating the Cherokee should be doable. Their soldiers cannot compete with your more advanced and disciplined army, especially if you do not give them any opportunities to ambush your troops or to catch smaller contingents unprepared.
I would however suggest not to take Georgia before most other Cherokee settlements have fallen. If you seize Georgia and thereby complete the mission, the Thirteen Colonies will join your ranks but if you do it too early, the Cherokee might manage to conquer some of your newly attained settlements there. Therefore, make sure not to complete the mission until the Cherokee do not pose a threat anymore.

Finishing off the Cherokee.

Meanwhile, use your northern stack and march through the vast lands of modern-day Canada towards the last remaining Huron settlement in the northwest corner of the map, namely York Factory. While it is hardly an economic power house, conquering it is still important in order to remove the Hurons from the game once and for all. Otherwise, you might well have to deal with a Huron army every few turns. By seizing the settlement and destroying the faction, you can finally disband your northern army and your northern front will be totally safe. In theory, you could try to conquer further settlements your remaining soldiers but that would be hardly worth it since they are so far away from any enemy lands. Therefore, it's probably your best bet to disband them instead. That way, you do not have to pay as much upkeep and can focus on the Cherokee in the south. Either way, completing the mission, finishing off the Cherokee and making the Thirteen Colonies join your empire should be fairly easy now. By now, your economy is powerful, your colonies have a good infrastructure and your army is big and strong. There isn't much left to do in North America and your first major objective has been completed.

Now that the British Empire is the dominant power in North America, you have a great power base for future military campaigns. Everything is possible, you can try to seize the rest of the Americas by expanding south or build a huge fleet and conquer the Caribbean islands. Alternatively, you could use your resources to build a trade empire or launch a massive expansion into the Indian subcontinent. Your economy in the Americas is uncontested and prosperous so you have a safe backyard which doesn't need much protection. As a result, almost your whole army can focus on conquering new lands overseas.

V. Summary
In conclusion, the British Empire is undoubtedly a very intriguing nation which makes for an enjoyable and special campaign. It might not be the hardest faction in the game but its strong navy, unique starting position and endless possibilities make it very fun to play.
You can play a historical campaign, expand slowly or blitz to victory. Britain's many unique units and its powerful roster ensure that the campaign doesn't become boring quickly. Furthermore, you can also decide on which continent you want to fight on and where you want to expand. Britain's starting position on an island allows you to focus on each of the three theaters if you wish.
All in all, Britain is definitely a faction worth playing in my opinion. You get to fight on different continents, facing dozens of factions and you have the potential to conquer the whole known world! But enough talking - now go ahead and lead this proud nation to glory and victory!